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Men's Basketball

Long Beach State Seeks To Clinch Regular Season Title Against Cal Poly

Files associated with this release:
Men's Basketball Release No. 16

2/21/2011

The top two teams in the men's basketball standings – Long Beach State and Cal Poly – meet in the Walter Pyramid Thursday night with the 49ers needing a win to claim their first regular season title since the 2006-07 season.

NOTEWORTHY

KEEP AN EYE ON

Casper Ware, Long Beach State
Ware has scored in double figures in 12 straight games for Long Beach State and ranks fourth in the Big West in scoring (16.3 ppg).  He has posted eight 20-point games, tied for fifth-most in the conference, and the 49ers are 6-2 when he reaches that point total.  Ware also tops the Big West in assists (137) and assists per game (5.1).  His 418 career assists rank fifth all-time at Long Beach State.  The junior is just eight assists shy of moving into third on that list.  Ware’s versatile game also has placed the point guard in the Big West top 10 in free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage, steals and three-point field goals made.

MORE NOTABLES

Long Beach State Looks To Clinch Title This Week
League-leading Long Beach State can secure its first regular season Big West title since the 2006-07 season with a win over second place Cal Poly on Thursday at the Walter Pyramid.  The 49ers (17-10, 11-2) have a two-game lead on the Mustangs (14-12, 9-4) with three to play.  LBSU has strung together its second six-game winning streak of the season and is coming off of a win over Big Sky Conference leader Montana in a nationally televised Sears BracketBusters game last Saturday.
 
The 17 wins are tied for the most in the Dan Monson era at Long Beach State.  The 49ers are 14-2 in the Walter Pyramid over the last two seasons, including 6-0 against Big West opponents this season.  Conversely, the Mustangs have been successful on the road in 2010-11.  They are 4-1 in away conference games, and lead all Big West schools overall with seven road wins.

Cal Poly had a six-game winning streak of its own halted on Saturday when Northern Arizona handed the Mustangs a 59-56 defeat in Mott Gym.  The Mustangs are looking to tie the program record for most Big West wins, originally set in 2002-03 with 10.

Single Session Tickets Go On Sale
Single session tickets for the 2011 ampm Big West Basketball Tournament will go on sale to the general public Tuesday, February 22 at 10:00 a.m.  Fans can purchase tickets through Honda Center Box Office or Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com).  Honda Center Box Office hours are from 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, please call (714) 704-2500 or visit the ampm Big West Basketball Tournament website at www.bigwesttourney2011.com.

Tickets for the event range from $10-$22 for general admission seats for the women’s tournament games and $27-$34 for reserved seating at men’s tournament games.  Big West students can purchase a ticket to any Honda Center session for $10 with a valid student I.D.
 
In November of 2009, Honda Center announced a five-year partnership with the Big West Conference to host its annual men’s and women’s post-season basketball tournament beginning with the 2010-11 season.  Each year the winner of the three-day single-elimination playoff receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Big West and Honda Center also are mutually hosting their fifth NCAA event with the upcoming 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball West Regional.  Previous events took place in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2008.

Television Tripleheader On Saturday
With ampm Big West Tournament berths and seeds on the line as the conference season sprints toward the finish, tune in to a television tripleheader on Saturday.  Preseason Big West favorite UC Santa Barbara travels to Long Beach State for a 5:00 p.m. tip on ESPN2.  UC Irvine next hosts Pacific at 5:30 p.m. for an FSN WEST telecast.  Rounding out the action on the tube is an 8:00 p.m. showdown on ESPNU between Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton from Titan Gym.

A 49er win over UCSB would earn them at least a share of the Big West regular season title in the event Cal Poly upstages LBSU on Thursday.

Homeland Security
Long Beach State aims to become the second Big West team to go undefeated at home in conference play for the second consecutive season.  UC Santa Barbara went 8-0 at The Thunderdome in 2009-10.  The 49ers take their 6-0 home mark into matchups with Cal Poly and none other than the Gauchos this week.

Tenth to 1,000
Junior Larry Anderson became the third player from Long Beach State, and the 10th player in the Big West this season to surpass the 1,000 career point plateau.  Anderson accomplished the feat during his 15-point performance agaisnt UC Riverside.  He now has 1,022 points.  Teammate Greg Plater is in line to become the fourth LBSU player to join the exclusive scoring club, as the senior enters the week with 942 career points.

Double Dosage
UC Santa Barbara’s lethal one-two scoring punch of Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally have combined for 962 points, which ranks them fifth among all-time Gaucho scoring duos.  They are just four point shy of eclipsing their 2009-10 combined total, 965 points, and are well within striking range of the all-time school record of 1,019 points.  Johnson leads the Big West in scoring at 21.2 points per game, while Nunnally is second at 17.3.  Johnson has scored in double figures in a school record 55 consecutive games.

Willard Set To Join Big West Career Rebounds Top 10
Pacific senior Sam Willard, who is averaging 10.8 rebounds to top the conference, needs just six more boards to join some hallowed company in Big West lore.  His 832 career rebounds trail former NBA players Tod Murphy (UC Irvine, 1983-96) and Larry Johnson (UNLV, 1990-91), who grabbed 837 caroms to tie for ninth in the record book.

Thomason Inches Closer To All-Time Wins Record
Pacific’s Bob Thomason moved to within three wins of tying Jerry Tarkanian’s record for most victories by a Big West head coach after last Wednesday’s triumph against UC Irvine.  Tarkanian won a combined 405 games during tenures at Long Beach State and UNLV.  Thomason is 402-286 in his 23rd season at Pacific.

Battle For Final Tournament Spot Intensifies
One team will be left out of the 2011 ampm Big West Tournament field, and this week’s outcomes look to go a long way toward determining someone’s fate.  UC Davis (9-17, 3-9) attempts to escape last place with road matchups against current eighth place occupant UC Irvine (11-17, 4-9) and seventh place UC Riverside (9-16, 4-8).  The Aggies won both meetings against UCR and UCI earlier this season.

Follow Your Team On BigWest.TV
The Big West Conference and the CBS College Sports Network are partnering to bring you exclusive coverage of Big West sports, press conferences, interviews, and features to your home via the Internet!  Now in its sixth year, BigWest.TV covers every home and conference contest in men’s basketball as well as women’s basketball and volleyball.  Also covered are select contests in men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, and Big West Conference Championships.  A monthly subscription of $9.95 or an annual subscription of $79.95 delivers exclusive coverage to you.  If you can’t make it to the gym or the field, you can still catch the action on BigWest.TV!